Gargantuan poetry reading

Buffalo kids like to do it up big.  Every year during the Small Press Book Fair, we have marathon readings– this year’s lasted for (if memory serves) 7 hours.  This Friday, starting at 8pm at Sugar City (19 Wadsworth), we’ll have a huge reading.  One of the House Press poets, Barrett Gordon, is getting married, and all the House Press boys from Chicago will be in town.  Thus the reading line-up (coordinated by Mr. Russell Pascatore) looks like this:

Eric Unger – Barrett Gordon – Tom Joyce – Peter Pascatore – Jack Topht – Jen Karmin – Mock Syringa – Greggreg – Emily Caligari – Nick Gordon – Jill Mertz – David Gluchowski – Jessica Smith – John The Gentlemen – Chris Fritton – lindsey-tidy0;s Grate – Johno (grandfather clock) – Dietrich-Olivier – Zev Gottdiener – Russell Pascatore – Zachary Keebaugh

Ready? Go.

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5 Responses to Gargantuan poetry reading

  1. yesisaidyesiwillyes says:

    I massively dislike these kinds of group readings, and take every opportunity — as I do here, please forgive me — to discourage them. Unless each poet gets a full “set,” with long “breaks” in between, as would happen for example at a day-long rock concert, I think these things disrespect the poetry and the listeners.

    Even if the poet reads well, there’s not enough time to fly her words about the room. A poet needs a minimum of twenty minutes, I think.

    At these marathons, the best listeners tire after several readers, regardless of how short it gets. With short formats, the loud and funny are rewarded, the subtle and serious tend to fall flat.

    And don’t even get me started on poets who abuse the time limits, screwing those at the end of the list and extending even longer a reading that is already way too long.

    These huge group and/or marathon readings always seem more of an excuse for the poets to gather socially, to throw a party. The audience, and the poetry, is a secondary matter. People ought to just throw the dang party.

    Shameful, aren’t I, to condemn this particular reading before it even happens? I hope I’m wrong about this one.

  2. I like marathon readings b/c I have a short attention span.

  3. I also disagree about the reader’s appreciation of the material– funny is nice, sure, but serious is still taken seriously (perhaps even more seriously, since so many try for the “gag” in order to stand out in their 5 minutes of fame). Being a good performer is of much greater importance than when you have a captive audience for 20-30 min, so the readings are better overall, but the really great readings stand out more. One of my favorite discoveries this year, Michael Sikkema, stood out to me from the March Small Press Fair marathon reading– so did Lisa Howe, Ric Royer, Barrett Gordon and Cara Benson (all of whose work I already knew). Think of these as miniatures, not as a rock concert– poetry condensed to what you can present in 5 minutes. So many poets you wouldn’t want to hear a full 20-30 minutes of anyway!

  4. Matt says:

    20 minutes!? I think 5-10 is about right, if they’re good. If they’re not good, the right amount is between 0-0.5.

  5. yesisaidyesiwillyes says:

    Touche, on your riposte about having a short attention span. It may be short, but it’s sharp! Enjoy the reading!

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